Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba.

We have already played Narita Boy, an independent game that pays tribute to pop culture and video game development of the 80s and which has become the debut of the Barcelona-based Studio Koba.

The next March 30 Narita Boy launches on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, a game that we had been keeping track of since it was announced on Kickstarter in 2017. This title from the Barcelona team Studio Koba had “piqued our curiosity” for a devastating pixelart style with hand-drawn animations and lots of references to the 80s .

Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba

We have already been able Play the first three chapters of Narita Boy. And the game has emerged as a promising 2D “metroidvania” loaded with personality., which offers us a mix of exploration with “backtracking” (returning to areas we have already passed to open new places), platforms and some electric sword fighting.

But who is this Narita Boy? Well it is the protagonist of a fictional video game that was released on the Narita One console in the 1980s. And he also becomes our alter ego in the digital world to face an evil entity, HIM, and his minions, known as the stallions.

Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba

In this “game within the game” our job is to restore order to the digital realm and prevent corruption from spreading. And it is not enough to take all the stallions that cross our path ahead of us.

An epic retro story

It turns out that Narita Boy – who owes his name to the Japanese city in which his creator was born – is also the chosen one, able to wield the Technosword and master the Trichrome (a kind of mystical force) and can retrieve the memories of the creator to make him “wake up” and impose order.

Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba

This whole story, which seems a bit convoluted, makes sense as we go along. Don’t be scared by the terminology. Any doubts have been taken away from us the moment we have grabbed the controller and started exploring the cybernetic scenarios of Narita Boy., which reflect retrofuturism in a unique way.

And if we love the setting, even better impressions have been made by the combat, which gains depth as we learn new skills. From the basic lunge and the shot, we move on to air attacks, dash, dodge, charged blows … we will need to master all these skills to face a good handful of final enemies.

Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba

And as we have already advanced, all peppered with references to the 80s, from Tron to Masters of the Universe. What Narita Boy proposes is a return to that time, loaded with references that will blow the minds of lovers of retrocomputing.

The floppies, the machine code and a terminology that has returned us to our childhood are back, imagining what happened in the “guts” of the computer while we typed simple BASIC commands. If you like retro, we leave you our analysis of Cyber-Shadow that recovers the style of classic ninja games.

16-bit inspired art

For the end we wanted to leave the technical and artistic section, which speaks for itself. The huge stages, the use of the camera and the hand-drawn animations have reminded us of classic games like Another World, but with a much higher level of detail and with very careful lighting.

Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba

And everything is presented with an unrivaled CRT effect, which goes way beyond just adding the typical scanlines (In our next Narita Boy review we will delve into all the “tricks” used to make us feel like we’re in front of an old tube monitor).

The final layer resides in the sound section, with very strong electronic themes that set the pace of our progress. If Narita Boy already had our attention, after this first contact, he has conquered us.

In the absence of delving into its mechanics, difficulty and other elements of development, you would do very well to mark its launch date on your calendar, next March 30 on all platforms.

Impressions of Narita Boy, the Promising “indie” by Studio Koba